It's pretty hard to argue that nature is one of the most wonderful things the universe has to offer. Humans and what the industries and cities they've created are pretty cool, but there's this purity to nature that can't be beat. Or at least for the most part, that is. Now while the trees and the rivers and the mountains are peaceful no matter what, if we take a closer look at the animal kingdom living within nature, it's kind of a different story. Sure, there are bunnies and hummingbirds and the likes which are cute and harmless, but some creatures are, or can be deadly. A handful of these deadly ones kill or inflict pain in some truly messed up ways, which is why it's only fitting as summer comes to an end and the tranquil air is slowly lifted that some of these freaky killers are brought to light.
16 Cookiecutter Sharks
The only reason this fiendish fish usually doesn't kill its prey is because it is one ambitious little bugger. To clarify, when we say little we mean little, with the largest ones only being about 2 feet long. That being said, their distinctive cookie-shaped bite marks can be seen on creatures as large as whales and dolphins. The cookie mark is what gives them their name, and it is accomplished through their round mouths and astonishingly large teeth (they actually have the largest teeth in the shark kingdom).
The fact the marks appear on the likes of dolphins and whales has different reasoning behind it: the sharks' fearlessness. The sharks have the ability to give off light from it's belly, and as the light bounces off the dark patch under its throat, the effect can be mistaken for an even smaller fish, aka the perfect prey for a larger marine creature. When the predator it attracts swims toward it, whether it be a larger fish, like a marlin or a humongous whale, the cookie cutter shark will quickly swim toward the target before it gets eaten, attach itself with its strong sucking lips, the sink in its teeth and transform itself into a shark version of a can opener to remove a chunk of meat. When they're feeling extra feisty, cookie cutter sharks even eat entire squid and crustacean. It truly is the definition of a lean mean eating machine.
15 Boa Constrictors
Claustrophobic? Well then you'd probably be best not hanging around the likes of the boa constrictor. An immense snake in size, width and length being considered, the boa constrictor is one of the rulers of the world of slithery creatures. On top of its size, the boa constrictor got to the top of its kingdom by its method of killing. Rather than sink some venomous teeth into its prey like all of its serpent relatives, it slowly encircles said prey until they have no more space to so much as wriggle their arms, and they do it in such a way that the prey hardly ever even sees it coming. In fact, their squeeze is so tight that blood can't even flow, so for those claustrophobics out there, think being trapped in a service elevator, then quarter it. Once it squeezes tightly enough, its victim can no longer breathe and the constrictor's meal is ready to be devoured. Whole.
14 Brazilian Wandering Spiders
On the subject of breathing problems caused by animals, this arachnid is known as the most deadly species of spider mainly because it is capable of suffocating its victims. This aggressive spider, who will not hesitate to deliver a bite even if a passerby doesn't almost step on it, possesses a venom that can trigger asphyxiation in those who receive it. The luckier penis-having humans to receive bites from these deadly creatures have also reported painful erections lasting for hours, which can then also lead to impotence. Either way, if this spider bites you, the outcome won't be pretty, and the scarier part is that its quite likely to happen. The Brazilian wandering spider gets its name from its tendency to wander the South American jungle floors searching for prey rather than stay put and wait for prey to come to it. With its deadly venom added to the mix, it's no wonder this spider was named the world's most venomous animal by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007.
A lot of you are probably thinking to yourselves, "how the hell did this weird, docile animal make it onto this list?" The answer? Because the platypus, when threatened, is not as docile as you'd think. In fact, it seems Mother Nature anticipated these little oddballs would definitely need to be equipped with a pretty good defense mechanism as nature's premier laughing stocks. If you're a female platypus, you're shit out of luck unless you're with your mate, brother, or father (damn natural patriarchy). If you're a male, however, you're equipped to defend yourself and those around you if needed. How, you ask? A dastardly spur located just above the heel of the hind leg which can be used to deliver a dose of venom produced in their thigh. While their venom cannot kill a full-grown human, there were cases reported where hunting dogs would be killed when trying to retrieve the male platypuses back when the sole venomous mammal in Australia was hunted for sport.
12 Tentacled Sea Snakes
It's not really how they kill that makes these sea serpents so freaky, it's how they know to kill. You might as well call these creatures Jean Grey or Professor X (for all the Marvel fans out there) because they can basically read minds. Maybe they can't control other objects, nor can they tell exactly it is what they're thinking, but based on their evolutionary method, they know where their prey is going to swim, and wait there with their jaws wide open. How does it manage this, you ask? Well, because of a fish's innate reaction to perceived danger. It's call C-start. When a fish sense sound waves in the water, their body automatically jolts and they go swimming speedily away from potential predators. The tentacled sea snake, however, moves its mid-section in order to purposefully trigger this response, then, when the fish tries to flee, it ends up right in the snake's waiting mouth.
After discovering just how messed up the way crocodiles kill is, we are even more stunned by how Steve Irwin, aka "The Crocodile Hunter" of Animal Planet fame, was absolutely fearless when it came to capturing them and actually helping their species thrive. See, the crocodiles use a tactic called the "death roll" to kill their prey, and yeah it's as terrifying as it sounds. The technique consists of the reptile using its huge jaws to hold a limb or the neck of its victim as it drags it under water. While under water, the crocodile spins its entire body in order to dismember its victim. If the death roll doesn't kill you, which the crocodile isn't even that concerned about when it starts feeding, you'll probably drown anyway. The death roll even has some calling it "the most powerful killing mechanism" within the animal kingdom. Now for another round of applause for the late Steve Irwin, especially since a crocodile wasn't even his cause of death.
10 Blanket Octopi
The blanket octopus might be one of the most ruthlessly badass creatures in all 10,000 leagues under the sea. There are many reasons this statement may be considered true. First of all, the female blanket octopus is actually about 10,000 times larger in size than the male one. What a progressive species, right? But wait, it gets better. The female blanket octopus, which can reach 2 meters in size, can make herself look even larger by spreading her blanket-like membrane, which, combined with the ability to ink that is present in all octopi, makes her a pretty stupid target for any other predator of the sea.
Last, but certainly not least, is how these creatures kill. As they are intimidating creatures to begin with, even Man of War jellyfish have never been their predators. Even so, the blanket octopus, both male and female, developed an immunity at some point to the highly toxic venom the Man of War produces. Today, because of this evolutionary trait, blanket octopi can be found whipping Man of War tentacles around that they have actually ripped off the jellyfish who can do them no harm. In other words, Willow Smith better watch out, because these kinds of octopus whip more than just hair back and forth.
Big cats may be cute to look at and fun to pet with the right protection, but man are they ever dangerous. Strong jaws, giant paws, and big sharp teeth, no thank you. Most of the types of big cats, like tigers and leopards, will bring their prey down by going for the throat, but not the fearsome jaguar. No, this mighty spotted creature of the jungle aims for a part of the body that's a little more of a task to get to: the head. They use their razor sharp teeth to pierce throught the skull and make direct contact with the brain. To be fair, the jaguar's method would actually be an arguably easier way to go, because this blow to the brain almost always lead to an instantaneous death, and the jaguar knows this. The tactic allows them to kill and eat armored animals, which is cool for them. But what isn't cool for the victims and makes their method even more worthy of being deemed "messed up?" They sink their teeth in through the ears...enough said.
8 Black Widows
Most people already know about these terrifying arachnids. Yes, both genders are poisonous, so any smart human or animal alike is advised not to mess with them, but the real kicker is the unexpected thing the female has been known to kill: their significant other. Although, "significant" is probably the last word the female black widow would associate with their ultimately disposable mates. Legend has it that these spiders always kill (and eat) their mates, and while it may be the case that this is only an occasional occurrence, it has happened enough times for the creepy crawlers to be named for it, despite the fact that some of these widows are male. The females even know when to strike if they do decide to kill their mate: right after that post-mating buzz. Not exactly preferable to the post-sex cigarette we humans sometimes indulge in. On top of the females' vendetta against their male counterparts, they also liquefy their prey's insides, mate or not, with one bite.
7 South African Spitting Scorpions
Honestly, there's not many things considered more rude than spitting at someone. Now, imagine that being your cause of death. Meet the South African spitting scorpion. Before using their tail to inject the venom in their prey they fire a tester shot, or "spit" at their prey. This scorpion actually has three different types of venom that it can inject into its victims if its "prevenom" doesn't initially kill the target. These types of venom can lead to convulsions and hyperactivity, even after the victim has been dead for 30 seconds, and, as scientists have tested, this only takes a small dose of venom to occur. So, not only is this scorpion's claim to fame kind of rude, it also is probably the last kind of scorpion you want to actually get stung by, given doctors would be bringing a single antidote to a triple venom party.
6 Siafu Ants
Remember that box office bomb featuring Shia Labeouf and Harrison Ford, also known as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Whether you answered yes or no, you've probably at least heard of the scene in which the crew of heroes and their opponents encounter a sea of villainous, carnivorous ants. It seemed made up at the time, but unfortunately these creatures are very real. They're called Siafu ants (and sometimes the driver ant) and are native to Africa, not the Amazon or wherever the Indiana Jones film would leave you to believe. The Siafu ants kill by a method that would probably fill many a bug-hater's nightmares: choking. These ants travel in huge colonies, and can easily overwhelm any predator that is in its way – they swarm over them to a point where the predator suffocates and dies. To make things worse, they have a mean bite, and some venom to boot. But to the bug-haters reading this, don't worry too much, because these guys move quite slowly (they're ants after all), are blind, and almost always go after much smaller prey. Just don't drunkenly fall into a pit of them and realistically you're good to go.
This bird might be an herbivore, but you'd better think twice before assuming that means they're not deadly. Usually they're a shy animal, keeping to themselves in their home of Australia, but when they're confronted, especially the males, they become horrifyingly aggressive. Unlike many of their bird relatives, a cassowary won't claw at your eyes and face (which still sucks, to be fair), but instead will go for your gut. A cassowary that feels threatened is like a bird Jackie Chan, jumping in the air and drop-kicking its opponent down the stomach. The method can lead to, brace yourselves, the spilling of your guts, and not in the telling secrets kind of way. Their knife-like claws that allow them to inflict this kind of damage are what once put them on the top of the list as the Guinness Book of World Records' most dangerous bird.
3 Ornate Wobbegongs
Despite their funny name, the ornate wobbegong is not an animal to be laughed at, or at least not if you're a fish. This curious species of shark has a flat body and a branched coral-like beard around their jaw. Oh yeah, and the ability to camouflage themselves. As it feeds on a diet of mainly fish, the ornate wobbegong has a pretty easy life. All they must do is find an area where a lot of fish pass by, secure themself onto the nearest flat surface, make sure they're in an area that matches their surroundings, and wait. As soon as a fish swims by the ornate wobbegong the wobbegong can scoop it up and swallow it in their large mouth. The shark must have a good knowledge of how their colour matches their surroundings, since, unlike the chameleon, they cannot actually change colours. Their ability to camouflage comes from their particular brown colouring of varying shades and how easy it is to match to beds of coral, and this method alone is enough to lead to an unfortunate and kind of unfair fate for many an unaware fish.
2 Killer Bees
Obviously based on their nickname alone one can draw the conclusion that these tiny menaces are not friendly. The killer bee, or, more officially, africanized honey bee population began in a lab (because that always goes well) in Brazil in 1956 in an attempt to breed a honey bee that tolerated South American climates well, because who doesn't love some free pollination? Well, no matter the outcome, it wasn't really worth it in the end, since, despite looking almost identical to regular honey bees, these guys aren't exactly your friendly neighbourhood beautification committee. Instead, when some escaped quarantine in 1957, they staked out territories and made sure no one, animal or human encroached upon their territory.
Now (and then), those who dare cross their path, or even make a noise or vibration they don't approve of are in for a very rude awakening. While their venom is just about as potent as a regular honey bee's, they swarm in much larger groups and remain agitated for far longer, sometimes even up to 24 hours. They can even perceive your ever so annoying presence from further away than the regular bee, reportedly having attacked people from as much as a quarter mile away. And yeah, once they gang up on you they can seriously injure or kill you, but we gotta let them do what they gotta do, 'cause save the bees, right?
1 Marble Cone Snail
Probably the most scary thing about the cone snail is that it's the last thing you'd expect to have the ability to harm you. As kids you were probably warned about snakes, insects, and even colourful frogs, but snails usually don't make the cut. We talked about killer ants before, now it's time for killer snails. With a method designed for the instant death of their prey, the cone snail shoots out a venom-filled barbed harpoon to kill and bring the prey to them immediately, as to avoid their meal being taken by a faster swimmer, and thus allowing them to not even move to capture their next meal. Their venom is actually five times more powerful than morphine, and triggers muscle paralysis. Even though a cone snail is definitely not going to eat a human, nor would it try to chase it, it won't hesitate to sting a curious human drawn to the beautiful shell on its back. If the human is lucky, it will only feel like a bee sting, but if they're unlucky and have a geographic cone snail in their grips, its a feasible possibility that the unassuming creature can kill them. The lesson that should be learned for today: if you're on land, pick up random snails as you please, but if you see a cone in the sea, play it safe and flee.